If you are feeling a little more adventurous, Judi Leaming suggests three recipes in case you want to A) have something special for breakfast on Thanksgiving or B) are looking for a way to just slightly change your menu without breaking too many traditions.

For most of you, your Thanksgiving menu is pre-planned by the traditions of Thanksgivings past.  Almost everyone will have a turkey on their table. There will also be escalloped oysters on our table since this is a must have for Spicer and grandsons Esa and Jack. It has become a tradition for granddaughters Jehan and Rose to help their dad Tim make the cranberry sauce.  This year Ami and Tim (our traditional Turkey Day host and hostess) will pull up an extra chair at the table so that their foreign exchange student, Tim, can experience his first American Thanksgiving. (Thanksgiving is not a holiday that is celebrated in Switzerland.)

Spicer and I will bring the beaten biscuits and the table will overflow with other vegetables and salads.  No time for experimenting with new recipes for this holiday menu.

But, if you are feeling a little more adventurous, I’ll suggest the three recipes below in case you want to A) have something special for breakfast on Thanksgiving or B) are looking for a way to just slightly change your menu without breaking too many traditions.

Our granddaughter Jehan is now a very happy and busy college student at Loyola University in Baltimore but I know that when she comes home, she’ll be expecting pumpkin pie. The interesting thing, though, about Jehan is that she eats the filling and Ami then reaches over and eats the leftover crust. I immediately thought about Jehan when I first saw the recipe for Aunt Ruthie’s Pumpkin Pie Cupcakes. Spicer and I discovered that we thoroughly enjoyed these as a snack or as a vegetable side dish for some of our dinners. And yes, we ate them cold even when we were considering them as one of our vegetables. Ami will just have to do without that crust.

The third recipe makes three dozen mini-muffins and I first served these for one of our Historical Society teas.  What a hit! These would make a special hostess gift if you are invited to sit at someone else’s table on Nov. 28 (or any other time) and I’ll bet that you can’t eat just one.

To contact Leaming, email leamingjudi@gmail.com.


(Recipe from www.food.com)

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 pinch ground cloves

1 cup milk

6 tablespoons canned pumpkin puree (you can freeze leftover puree for another recipe)

2 tablespoons butter, melted

1 egg

Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, spices and salt together in a bowl. In another bowl whisk together milk, pumpkin, melted butter and egg. Fold wet mixture into dry ingredients and whisk to blend well.  (Judi’s note: “I let the batter sit on the counter for 15 minutes to allow the baking powder to start ‘working’”) Spray or grease a skillet and heat over medium heat. Pour in 1/4 cup batter for each pancake. Cook pancakes about 3 minutes (until bubbles that form on the surface start to pop) then turn and cook for a minute or two more. The recipe said that this would make about six (6-inch) pancakes but I got a few more. Serve with butter and syrup. 


(Adapted from www.sugarpiefarmhouse.com)

1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin puree

3/4 cup granulated sugar

2 large eggs, room temperature

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1 (5 1/4-ounce) can evaporated milk

2/3 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease 12 regular size (3-inch in diameter) muffin cups well – do NOT try to use paper liners. In the bowl of an electric mixer blend together pumpkin, sugar, eggs, vanilla and evaporated milk. Stir in the flour, spices, salt, baking powder and baking soda and mix until smooth. Fill each greased muffin cup 1/3 full with the batter. (I allow them to sit at room temperature for about 15 minutes before putting them in the oven.) Bake for 25 to 28 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Place on a wire rack to cool.  Baked “cupcake” will be puffed up when it comes out of the oven but will “sink” as it cools and that is to be.


(Adapted from a November 2011 Southern Living magazine recipe)

Vegetable cooking spray

3 tablespoons cold butter, cut into 36 even-sized pieces

1 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1 cup chopped pecans

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup butter, melted and slightly cooled

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/2 cup finely chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Spray three 12-section mini-muffin tins with cooking spray. Place one “bit” of butter in the bottom of each muffin cup; set aside. Combine brown sugar, 1 cup chopped pecans, flour, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl and form a “well” in the center. In another bowl stir together melted butter, slightly cooled melted butter and vanilla extract. Pour into brown sugar mixture and stir just until moistened. Reduce oven temperature to 425 degrees. Stick greased muffin tins with butter bits into the oven just long enough to melt the butter (about 1 minute or less). Remove as soon as butter melts and scoop dough into prepared cups, filling about half full. Sprinkle with the 1/2 cup finely chopped pecans. Bake in preheated oven for 10 to 12 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack for two minutes then quickly run a knife around each of each cup to loosen muffins and remove from pans.